Study Links Migraines to High Sodium Levels in Spinal Fluid
According to results of a small study, people with migraine headaches have higher levels of sodium in cerebrospinal fluid – the clear, colorless liquid that surrounds and helps protect the brain and spinal cord – than those without migraines. Migraine diagnosis is often challenging. If further research confirms these findings, doctors could have access to a new tool to accurately diagnose migraine faster.
This study – the first to use an imaging test called cerebral sodium MRI scan to examine migraine sufferers – was conducted by researchers from the Institute of Clinical Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Mannheim, and Heidelberg University – both in Germany. Results of the study were presented this week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.
For the study, 12 women with migraines and 12 healthy women – average age 34 – underwent cerebral sodium MRIs. Researchers analyzed and compared sodium concentrations and found no significant differences between the two groups in gray and white brain matter, the brain stem, or the cerebellum. However, sodium concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid were significantly higher in migraine patients than in the healthy controls.